Bob Brown: "I’ve got too many women chasing me."
Ardeth Salmon: “I get no sympathy in the wide world."
  • Bob Brown: "I’ve got too many women chasing me." Ardeth Salmon: “I get no sympathy in the wide world."
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Can't complain

Now that I know the secret of happiness – the secret that turns bad years into good ones – I want to blurt it out in the first paragraph. But I won’t. I will tell my story in the calmest way, to teach myself the art of suggestion.

Cathy Clark: "I got married last year and my husband has two children."

Cathy Clark: "I got married last year and my husband has two children."

There is a man who lives with his wife and two boys in Hipass, East San Diego County, not far from the barren mountains that separate the highlands from the Imperial Valley. The terrain around there consists of scrub-covered hills and white boulders, and wide, dry valleys. From the freeway, the oaks appear to grow in clumps that look like miniature storm clouds floating over the plain. The weather gets drier with every mile one travels east, so that Hipass looks out upon little more than chaparral. One can’t say much for the land around that town, except that it certainly gives the sky a chance.

George and Bill Burnett: "We put this new front on our store. We developed this condominium."

George and Bill Burnett: "We put this new front on our store. We developed this condominium."

Here Bob Brown retired thirteen years ago at age thirty-eight. He was very poor then, and just this year has become very rich-just how rich nobody knows, including Brown himself, apparently, as he hasn’t yet hired a tax consultant to arrange affairs at his pest-control business, it has been doing extremely well. Brown doesn’t look rich in his blue flannel shirt and his scraggly beard. But then Bob Brown is trying to look modest. As he remarked to Juanita the other day at the Mountain Empire Hardware Store: “I’m trying to ugly up.

Julia Blair: "People want to do things for you when you get to be my age."

Julia Blair: "People want to do things for you when you get to be my age."

I’ve got too many women chasing me and have got to do what I can.” Then he laughed – just like a man whose fine features are beginning to lose themselves in age – and Juanita laughed too. A moment later she handed him a bill for his month’s supplies: $1,120. He hardly glanced at it, waved goodbye, and we rumbled out of the dirt lot in his 1964 Imperial.

Otto Bos: "I became a Steve Martin fan. I grew a beard."

Otto Bos: "I became a Steve Martin fan. I grew a beard."

“We'll go down to Bennie’s Garage and I’ll show you where they’re dropping a new engine in my Lincoln.” (We were taking a tour of the neighborhood.) Brown owns a small collection of junk-heap Lincoln Continentals, all rusting behind his house. He collects them because their wide doors are a welcome design for somebody in a wheelchair.

Next to the cars is a well-drilling rig, rusting in the middle of a job, its shaft half-sunk in the ground, together with several piles of materials for remodeling the house-yet another job that’s stalled by craftsmen who work on “mountain time”—whenever they feel like it. At work as well as home, wherever Brown goes, he can wave a hand at a job that’s planned but not started, or started but not yet done.

Bert Stites: "We’ve moved out of Imperial Beach to Chula Vista. I couldn’t stay there."

Bert Stites: "We’ve moved out of Imperial Beach to Chula Vista. I couldn’t stay there."

It’s an attitude that could goad some achievers to tear out their tie-tacks, or shred their polished nails. “One time we had this guy out here from Texas,” said Brown, off on a story about people who want to buy out his invention, a relatively simple, compact machine that repels and even sterilizes vermin-from cockroaches to rats. “Listen, this is really slick: He drives to the door in his beautiful car, looking for the company, expecting trucks and loading zones and all that stuff – and God, he’s in front of an old motel. He doesn’t know it’s our office. He probably thinks it’s a coffee shop – some day I’m going to paint that sign over. Anyway, Dora, the secretary, is the only one here and she’s outside laying on the lawn getting some sun. He’s got his suit and briefcase. . . the telephone’s ringing but sometimes we let it ring solid all day. . . he’s looking up and down the road, taking his coat off, putting his coal back on. I tell you! By the time he saw the assembly shed and the goat eating the packing boxes, he was ready to go on back and we haven’t heard of him since.”

Clarence Traurig: "I have this cancer in my bowel and now they raise my rent."

Clarence Traurig: "I have this cancer in my bowel and now they raise my rent."

I said it sounds like a terrific amount of fun, being rich and looking very modest, and running a wildly successful business in the most off-hand way. Brown agreed. As it was a Saturday, he couldn’t show me the workshops or introduce me to his employees, almost all of whom are neighbors. But he showed me everything else: his land and the sites for his swimming pool and tennis court, and then his house – a den, really-dark and cluttered with junk, clothes everywhere, and heated by a stone fireplace that gave a sharp aroma of smoke. He said he’ll never leave Hipass because “these people up here are different” — meaning they were kind to him and his family when they had so little money, not too long ago.

North City West, proposed as a sprawling subdivision near Del Mar, was narrowly rejected by the city council last April.

North City West, proposed as a sprawling subdivision near Del Mar, was narrowly rejected by the city council last April.

I now believe that fortune can come from anywhere, if it can come from guitars and rats. Brown owes his prosperous 1977, his new-found wealth, his business, to the error he made one day in the assembly of an electric guitar. (After moving to Hipass lie earned a little extra money making guitars, an occupation that joined his two favorite pastimes — music and tinkering.) Because he'd fouled up some wires, something emitted an ultra-high frequency sound that had the most curious effect on the rats that lived in Brown’s workshop. It drove them away, and that’s something one’s sure to notice. Brown certainly did; and more than that, he pounced on the practical application of his invention. This year emissaries from the White House, from foreign lands, from the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in the world have been knocking on his faded motel office door to pay homage to Brown and his little metallic box.

Karl Keating: "Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly, of Alton, Illinois, brought 20,000 women to Houston to say Nay to 2,000 women brought there by Mrs. Bella Abzug."

Karl Keating: "Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly, of Alton, Illinois, brought 20,000 women to Houston to say Nay to 2,000 women brought there by Mrs. Bella Abzug."

What does blundering into fortune do for a man who’s been unfortunate for years? It’s made Brown more certain of his strengths. He was reading a book on Sagittarius recently, and asked if his personality fit this zodiac sign, he smiled very broadly. “Sure. I guess I’m a blabbermouth, a showman. I’ve always been good at PR.”

David Helvarg: "It’s not that San Diego is such a conservative place; there an more conservative cities (Durban, South Africa and Santiago, Chile )."

David Helvarg: "It’s not that San Diego is such a conservative place; there an more conservative cities (Durban, South Africa and Santiago, Chile )."

Public relations is a strength I don’t care much for, even in Brown. But as the day of my visit wore on I detected a trait in him that I like very much. It was the faintest, most gentle look of bewilderment that came when he talked about himself and the way his career as a stage band musician ended so soon, withered by disease, as his legs had done when he was a child. Our talk was nothing sentimental: Bob Brown doesn’t seem to be a sentimental man.

Duncan Shepherd: Movies I could kick myself for failing to see: Peter Watkins’ Edvard Munch, Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, and Jonathan Demme’s Citizens Band (since retitled Handle With Care ).

Duncan Shepherd: Movies I could kick myself for failing to see: Peter Watkins’ Edvard Munch, Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, and Jonathan Demme’s Citizens Band (since retitled Handle With Care ).

But once in a while, I recognized the look one sees in young people (and some older ones) – a baffled look that comes when they arc asked to explain their goal in life. They know it’s a most important thing — having a plan for achievement, or being able at least to describe themselves in glorious terms. But they don’t know how; they don’t know what to be, or whom to please: themselves or everybody else. For everyone who feels this way, I proudly introduce Bob Brown, bumbler of fortune, who knew his limits at an early age. “The one thing I really learned from polio is that you’ve got to keep going, you know stay with the things you like and keep on going.”

I heard someone say the other day: “I don’t know where the hell I’m going, but nothing’s going to stop me from getting there.”

– Joe Applegate

San Diego Transit increased its fares to thirty-five cents; express buses went to fifty cents.

San Diego Transit increased its fares to thirty-five cents; express buses went to fifty cents.

Don't ask

Life, somebody once said, is just one damned thing after another. Mrs. Ardeth Salmon, fifty-nine-year-old textbook clerk at San Diego High School, would agree. For Salmon, a sedate and graying widow from Owensboro, Kentucky, 1977 was a lamentable series of Thurber-esque accidents and Bumsteadian mishaps. Everything she touched either broke down, fell apart, wouldn’t fit, or didn’t work. She was cut up, cut off, and almost cut in half.

“I just thought I would lose .my mind,” she says, sipping iced tea in the living room of her pleasant, airy. Oak Park home full of knickknacks, hanging plants, and watercolors. A stout Siamese cat named Rodney purrs contentedly in Salmon’s lap, “I think I had everything ‘bat could go wrong for a human being go wrong this year.”

She begins the rueful tale of ’77 with a short history of her recent life and hard times. Rodney, with a decided lack of compassion, hops down, stretches, and nonchalantly pads off toward the small kitchen. “I get no sympathy in the wide world,” says the woman dolefully.

She tells of the time her feet got tangled up in an extension cord. The ensuing fall popped her skirt open like an umbrella and planted her bottom squarely on a searing one hundred-watt lightbulb The bulb didn’t break; it just burned. For several weeks she was unable to sit down without pain. Then there was a grim run-in with the deep-fryer which left her sprawled across a linoleum swamp of scalding grease and smashed crockery. She once “accidentally” drove her daughter’s car off a five-foot retaining wall from the driveway down to the patio. Two years ago, Salmon fell into a fishpond. “I have no sense of balance,” she notes.

But this past year brought its own unique batch of miseries. “It was definitely not,” she sighs, “the best year in the world.” It began innocently enough. In January a “very dear friend,” returning from a visit with her daughter in Germany, proudly showed her some delicate mementoes of the trip. “I just drooled over the red crystal,” she says dreamily. “My friend said I was the only one who appreciated it. So the friend secretly wrote her daughter and had her send a beautiful, expensive vase which she gave me for my birthday.” She shakes her head somberly. “Not long after this, I was dusting and I knocked the vase off the shelf. It broke into a million pieces. I was just sick.”

February brought a red spider invasion. The spiders went straight for the “gorgeous fuschias that everybody raved about.” Her largest, fullest, best fuschia was chomped to death by a thousand tiny jaws. The remaining three were so devastated by the siege that despite continued care and conscientious spraying, “they could still go at any moment.”

Following dinner at the Twin Inns in Carlsbad one evening in March, Salmon and several friends piled into the car to drive home. Mrs. Salmon, wearing her lovely long skirt with the lovely long sash, sat in the back seat. The driver shifted into reverse and started inching out of the parking space. A woman in the car beside them went pale and motioned frantically behind her rolled-up window, like a panicked mime. That’s strange, everyone thought. “Suddenly,” says Mrs. Salmon, “something grabbed me around the waist. It was my sash hanging out of the door and caught around the back wheel. It was just cutting me in two. The thing got tighter and tighter and tighter and finally it snapped. I got the same sympathy I always get,” she adds. “Everyone sat there and laughed for about five minutes.”

April saw Salmon’s means of transportation, a Dodge Aspen, yanked from her in a factory recall for emission control problems. The next month, after clearing some weeds from a corner of her back yard, the hapless woman discovered a large section of fence that “wanted mending.” It was falling apart, loose planks every which way. She pauses in her story and shuffles over to close a window. As she does, she looks out at the now dilapidated fence which still wants mending. “I couldn't drive a nail straight if I had to,” she says.

The summer wasn’t much better. In June Mrs. Salmon was troubled with sinuses, and she visited her doctor. He found another problem, and Salmon quickly landed in the hospital for a hysterectomy. At that time they also discovered she was a borderline diabetic. Weeks later she developed a bladder infection and was prescribed medicine for it. But the remedy didn’t agree with her, she says. “I started running a fever and broke out in a rash. They finally decided to stop me on the medicine, and I got better. But because I was ill, I knocked six kids out of work for a week at the library.”

No sooner had the pink returned to her cheeks when her physician began inquiring about his payment. Her insurance company claimed they never saw the bills. Mrs. Salmon told them that she had mailed the bills herself. Sorry, they said, we don't have them. So she had copies made, and hand-carried them to the Kearny Mesa offices one Friday morning. The offices were closed. Her insurance company does not work on Fridays. Later she found out that the check had been mistakenly mailed to the lab which had done her X-rays.

July arrived, San Diego heated up, and Ardeth Salmon decided to buy a new refrigerator. Since the bottom of the overhead kitchen cabinet came to the top of her eyebrows, she figured that a refrigerator no taller than her own browline would fit the bill perfectly. Once she had the “dimensions,” Salmon went out and purchased the appliance, which was delivered the next day. It was an eighth inch too tall. The hulking, overalled deliverymen had no choice but to leave the refrigerator in the middle of the floor, where it sat for several days until a friend took pity, came over and chopped out the cabinet. “Two less coats of paint on that cabinet,” she comments, “and I swear it would have fit.”

In August it was the car again. This time the Dodge was leaking transmission fluid. The first trip to the dealer only seemed to make the leak worse. She took the car back. The second time, “they tore the car all apart” and told her it wouldn’t be ready for two days. She rode the bus to work. The first morning she took the wrong one and got to work and hour late after a very long walk. Unfortunately, Mrs. Salmon doesn’t walk as well as she used to. since losing a kneecap. She knocked it out of place one morning while putting on her stockings, and suffered for six months while a bone chip ground all the cartilage in her kneecap away. Finally, it was surgically removed.

Salmon excuses herself and steps across the room into the kitchen. Minutes later, followed by a chop-licking Rodney, she finishes up the year.

Things were going reasonably well in September, she relates, until one day her daughter Linda raced in breathlessly demanding, “What's wrong with the phone? Aunt Mary can't reach you, and she swears you're dead.” Aunt Mary, eighty-two and prone to hysterics, had been trying to call Mrs. Salmon for days, as had many other people. The phone, however, was not registering incoming calls. Unable to reach her. Salmon's friends and relatives had nearly organized a womanhunt. After several more frustrating days of diddling with Mother Bell, the telephone service was restored to normal, and Aunt Mary was spared her stroke.

October was ivy-trimming time, but something happened. After some preliminary digging and clipping, says Mrs. Salmon, “My hands swelled up double in size almost to my elbows. This went on for a couple of weeks, and I couldn’t even type at work. I guess I'm allergic to an awful lot of things. I once used a certain hand cream and my fingers swelled up so badly that my husband had to saw off my engagement and wedding rings.”

Finally, she says, brushing Rodney away from the crumbs on her plate, there were the ants. “I went into the bedroom one day last month and saw a black streak about one and a half inches wide, and I’m not exaggerating. It went from the floor up the closet door. I sprayed it and had a dustpan full of ants when I cleaned up. Unfortunately,” she adds, glancing toward the bedroom, “they’re still around.”

It’s been a long story and a long year.

Mrs. Salmon pinches the bridge of her nose with a thumb and forefinger. She closes her eyes and sighs. “Well,” she says, “it doesn’t do much good to cry about it. You have to try and see the fun in it. If it’s going to happen to you, you have to see the fun in it.” Rodney slinks off again. “And then,” she says, “there’s the time I fell off the front porch.”

– Bill Owens

Honestly now, how'd it go this year?

Cathy Clark Television News Reporter

It had its ups and downs. The station really has been in an uproar, and that's been nerve-racking. ..I just hoped I would stay employed, and I’ve managed to do that. I can’t be negative, though; things are looking up. I'm getting off consumer news, and for me that’s good, since I’m one of the world’s worst consumers. It looks like things are going to be a lot smoother. It was a good year for learning how not to take your work home with you. . .also for learning how to use my time alone for myself. I’m trying to learn how to oil paint. And I got my Pachinko working. That was one accomplishment! I got married last year and my husband has two children, so I’ve learned this year that you just can’t worry about the housework. I’ve resigned myself to knowing that my kitchen floor always will be a dingy gray. The best thing was finally making the Colorado raft trip down the canyon. Now, that was fun. We did a whole slide show on it and it was probably the most challenging thing I did because I didn’t get paid to do it. Overall, I’d rate the year B-

George and Bill Burnett Furniture Dealers

BILL: Well, business has been good.

GEORGE: I'll say the same thing Bill did. It was good. I think business was good because we made it good. Giving people good value, good display, good advertising; taking care of our complaints. We’re doing everything good in the face of a lot of real stiff competition. Personally, I’m fine, thanks. My tennis is good. My golf is good and bad. My flying isn’t as much as it should be.

BILL: My year, business-wise, is naturally the same as George’s. Personally, I have a very comfortable life. I have good and bad days in golf. I don’t play tennis. My major hobby is sailing.

But you’ve got to realize that really, in spite of the fact that we talk about boats and sailing and golf and stuff, our time is really taken up with our business, so that’s where our goals arc. Basically, about everything we think about is wound up in how we can do the furniture business better.

GEORGE: I think one thing you should bring up in this discussion is our new condo center. We built a condominium in the store and we have a condo planning center.

BILL: Overall, I think the year went fine. You can’t ever expect anything to be perfect, but I don’t see that it was anything but quite good.

GEORGE: We did a lot of things. We put this new front on our store. We developed this condominium. We did a whole big remodeling of the exterior.

BILL: You notice he’s back to the business again?

GEORGE: Yeah, back to the business again.

BILL: See, that’s what we think about all the time. Really.

Julia Blair Former Social Worker

I started the year as one of exploration because I had no commitments; nobody needs me and I hoped I’d find something challenging. But one thing I’ve run into is that people want to do things for you when you get to be my age and they don’t want you to do anything very important. I understand this because in my younger days I felt the same way. I lost several people this year who meant a great deal to me so I’m learning to handle that, remembering all that is good about them and not avoiding remembering because of the pain. I felt as if I needed to do something flexible so I took up Tai Chi. It’s a noncompetitive physical thing I can do at my own speed and it helps me move more easily.

I find my posture is better and I enjoy it because it’s also contemplative.

Otto Bos Aide to Mayor Pete Wilson, Former Newspaper Reporter

It was a year of heavy changes. I changed jobs; I had the seven-year-itch; I went through one of Gail Sheehy’s "passages.” I saw my new job as a chance to help formulate some public policy and a chance to do something different. And it’s a different feeling, for sure, to be on the other side of the reporters’ inquiries. I think I've gotten more cautious as a result of that.. But I’m having fun and that's the bottom line. One reason I left my old job is that I felt I wasn’t growing as much. I’ve gotten some experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise if I hadn’t switched jobs. Emotionally, my life is very good. My wife is going to college, and she’s very happy with that. My son is two and a half years old, and he’s talking a little more now, which I enjoy. I became a Steve Martin fan. I grew a beard. I’m playing soccer again every Sunday and I’ve lost fifteen pounds. I had missed getting rid of all my aggressions out there on the field. But at thirty-four. I find I don’t heal as well as I once did.

Bert Stites Elementary School Teacher, Former Mayor of Imperial Beach

It’s been a frustrating year. It’s been a good year for me and my family because we’re finally out of that dog-and-cat fight. Everything brought us a lot closer together. We’re spending a lot of time together and I’m getting reacquainted with my family. But we’ve moved out of Imperial Beach to Chula Vista. I couldn’t stay there... it was a little much to stay. We have bought some property in Boulevard, and we go up there weekends. I also have a partner, and we’re building an office building in Spring Valley. These things are for me. Maybe it sounds a little selfish, but I’ve already given a lot to the public. And I know I’ll never get back into politics. The idiots that recalled me just wasted a lot of taxpayer’s money because I never would have gone back anyway. It’s been a real wringer of a year, emotionally – lots of ups and lots of downs. I wouldn’t want to go through it again. For me and my family personally, I think it worked out much, much better. I don’t think it worked that way for the city. I know I worked hard for the city. I loved it, but maybe it didn’t love me. It was like a marriage that fell apart.

Clarence Traurig Former Railroad Worker

Every time I turned around this year was just bad, bad, bad. and more bad.

I’m on disability, see, my back's bad and I was operated on my heart and two months ago again for cancer. I have this cancer in my bowel and now they raise my rent. It’s just real hard to live, see, everything’s going up. It says on the television things are going up two or three cents. Baloney! You go in the store and fish has gone up twenty cents from one week to the next. Another thing is I was getting a pension and they cut it off and said I owed them one hundred and twenty dollars! What the hell kind of talk is that. I'd like to know? I don’t drink or smoke and I’m cutting down on meat, but products are going up. I need a razor and gas for my car so I can go to the ocean to take my mind off it. It’s been so hard.

Merilyn Britt and Jeannette DeWyze

Growing, growing, gone

It covers nearly the entire wall of a small conference room buried deep within city hall. The sigh above proclaims the enormous topographic map to be San Diego's “North City." Prepared years ago when the land was empty scrub country, the aging map is crisscrossed with dotted red lines denoting proposed roadways, and is highlighted by colored plastic overlays earmarking acre upon acre of future subdivisions. Superimposed on the contoured plaster grid are a host of familiar names: Shell Oil, AMFAC, Boise Cascade. They are the land owners. Other yellowing tags call out the developments by name: Penasquitos, North City West, Mira Mesa, Carmel Mountain East.

If any one part of San Diego can be said to hold the key to the future of the city, it is the area contained within the borders of that dusty map—North City, the vast stretches of land east of the coastal strip and north of Highway 52. The financial stakes there are high; many millions stand to be made by potential developers. The only question which seems to remain between the sagebrush and the bulldozer is whether North City and downtown San Diego can co-exist; and if they can’t whether downtown can do anything about it. 1977 did little to resolve the issue.

Some liken the scenario to the start of a race, with the inevitable last-minute jockeying for position. The northern interests slipped slightly when North City West, proposed as a sprawling subdivision near Del Mar, was narrowly rejected by the city council last April; but they gathered momentum again with the October opening of University Towne Centre, a regional shopping complex east of La Jolla. For their part, downtown boosters pinned their hopes on a host of redevelopment plans backed by Mayor Pete Wilson. In several instances, these hopes seemed near fruition during 1977.

San Diego Port officials claimed success in their efforts to build Seaport Village, a veritable Disneyland of shops and restaurants on the site of the old ferry landing at Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive. The Gaslamp Quarter, after years of high promise and low performance, seemed to come to life when a group of building owners, tenants, and residents organized themselves to revitalize the lower-Broadway district and pushed through a special building code amendment to encourage restoration.

When it came to the big projects, though, the year was less successful. The Santa Fe Depot, a veteran candidate for commercial renovation, wallowed in uncertainty after a Los Angeles developer dropped out and a last-ditch attempt to enlist the aid of local millionaire Robert Peterson was frustrated by conflict-of-interest problems stemming from Peterson's marriage to Councilwoman Maureen O’Connor.

The persistent but elusive plans for a downtown convention center failed to materialize when its projected cost ballooned past $100 million. And the Horton Plaza shopping center, the grandfather of central city renewal projects, became mired in unprecedented controversy.

As the year dawned, the shopping center seemed healthy enough. The mayor proclaimed his confidence in it, two department store chains said they were interested, and developer Ernest Hahn promised a third in due time. But as University Towne Centre, another Hahn project, prepared to open, murmurs of concern began to issue forth from some unexpected places. Dean Dunphy, chairman of the city’s downtown renewal efforts, warned in mid-year that Bonita Plaza, the multi-million dollar shopping center being planned by National City Mayor Kile Morgan, would, unless halted, undermine the Horton project. Local media, led by Tribune columnist Neil Morgan, picked up the scent and used the opportunity to air their own skepticism.

Sensing a tactical error, redevelopment officials turned to the Marina housing project to bolster their sagging fortunes. At a hastily called news conference, Dunphy and urban renewal expert Gerald Trimble announced that six developers were eager to build housing downtown. Two months later they revealed that the field had been narrowed to two major Los Angeles-based corporations, Pardee, Inc. and Shappell Government Housing (in association with San Diego Federal).

However, left unanswered in 1977 was a precise accounting of the amount of public money required to subsidize the Marina development, designed to include more than 3,000 condominiums. Pardee, also deeply involved in proposals for North City West, made it clear in an April report that taxpayers would have to shoulder an estimated $20 million-share of the cost. Redevelopment officials were slightly more evasive, although the mayor reportedly told columnist Morgan that the subsidy was essential.

Meanwhile, in an election year in which urban issues generally took a back seat to suburban crime and taxes, voters in Escondido probably had the biggest impact on San Diego’s future. They resoundingly turned thumbs down on a plan by developer Hahn to build a major shopping center in their city. Taking his defeat in stride, Hahn promptly announced that his “fallback” position was Carmel Mountain East, an immense tract of land just east of Penasquitos. Should Hahn seek yet another substantial development in North City, it would set the stage for the biggest and perhaps last test of the mayor’s growth management philosophy.

Hahn's December announcement that Buffums and Montgomery Ward were interested in the downtown shopping center seemed, in the minds of many, to be closely linked to Hahn’s interest in Carmel Mountain. (If Buffums was guaranteed a spot in University Towne Centre, according to Hahn, they would agree to venture downtown. A similar arrangement had been negotiated with Robinson's, now under construction at Towne Centre. There is speculation that the same strategy could be used with Wards and perhaps even the May Co., placing the city council in a position to barter away Carmel Mountain in exchange for commitments to downtown.)

What worries many observers, however, is the open-ended obligation expected of city taxpayers. The San Diego Union, a strong supporter of downtown redevelopment, used a recent Sunday editorial to endorse the use of subsidies to get the Marina project underway. And renewal czar Trimble urged that a downtown convention center, apparently discarded earlier in the year by Mayor Wilson because of the exorbitant cost, be revived as a crucial complement to the shopping center. But as 1977 draws to a close, it remains to be seen whether taxpayers can be convinced to foot the bill.

Thus, as the new year approaches, downtown San Diego continues to be haunted by the specter of that old North City map tucked away inconspicuously in city hall. It may not be long before orders are passed down to have it cleaned and rushed up to the council chambers once again.

– Matt Potter

Right hooks

The wide-open society is no longer slipping down the public’s wide-open gullet. In San Diego and elsewhere, the notion that “anything goes” has gone and has been replaced by the conviction that a little repression, like a little wine, is a good thing. And like the man who has sipped the fruit of the vine, the body politic seems the healthier for the change.

But not everyone is happy with the turn of events. For instance, apprentice muggers and those who ply their trades behind drawn curtains have expressed their displeasure at finding themselves the involuntary guests of Mr. John Duffy, the manager of a high-security downtown rooming house. Mr. Duffy has friends, members of the local constabulary, whose task it has been to go onto the highways and byways of Ocean Beach, Balboa Park, and Horton Plaza and round up individuals who neglect to report all of their income.

Mr. Duffy’s friends have been most efficient in their work, and his establishment is now filled to capacity twice over. This has caused his guests no little discomfort, but it has apparently pleased little old ladies who are now venturing outside again.

The success of Mr. Duffy’s enterprise, .which is matched only by the plaudits given his uniformed friends, is mirrored in other changes about town. Swimsuit merchants are reporting a renewed demand for their products from people said to be tanned in the most unlikely places. The merchants credit their prosperity to a reversal of public opinion on things pubic. This reversal of opinion was not lost upon the more conservative candidates in the recent city council elections, all of whom suggested that people should keep their privacy to themselves-and all of whom won.

Perhaps a further measure of the depth of this change in the public mood was given in the losing candidates’ complaint that their new-found unemployment could be attributed to the Church News. This periodical, distributed through evangelical Christian churches and editorially supporting that outlandish theory that there actually are such things as right and wrong, was bold enough to print the losing candidates’ public statements and a list of their endorsers. The embarrassment was keen, and the losers’ protestations have now doubled the circulation of the Church News.

On a more cosmic level, Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly, of Alton, Illinois, brought 20,000 women to Houston to say Nay to 2,000 women brought there by Mrs. Bella Abzug, late of the Big Apple. Mrs. Schlafly’s associates paid their own way to their counter-convention, while Mrs. Abzug’s friends were underwritten by the corner grocer, who has since lodged a protest with his elected representatives. Mrs. Schlafly’s women came out in support of Mom and apple pie. Mrs. Abzug’s women most noteworthily came out in support of the girl next door, so to speak.

Back to San Diego came this city's representatives to Mrs. Abzug's conference. their major concern being that Mr. Anwar Sadat, a media personality from Cairo, was rude in not working his Mideast breakthrough into their schedule, thereby capturing the headlines. Mr. Sadat has not replied.

And in Florida, Mrs. Anita Bryant has signed on the dotted line and will be representing the citrus interests for several more years at a salary' which will enable her to continue her political activities. Certain San Diegans have demanded a boycott of oranges, but the Florida growers do not believe their livelihoods are threatened.

Also on the local front, Mr. Leo T. Maher, a Corporation Sole, has continued his public utterances against the early termination of heartbeats through abortion, and for his efforts he has received rumors of war from people who think religion is best kept tucked in the family Bible high on a dusty shelf. His Excellency replies that the country is coming around to the civilized notion that a woman can pretty much do what she wishes with her own body, provided she does not compromise the integrity of that separate body that may be within her. He gives as evidence the fact that a generally pro-life House of Representatives, the legislative body more susceptible to the urges of the voters, for five months held at bay a decidedly pro-abortion Senate in the controversy over the Hyde Amendment. Mr. Maher’s detractors in San Diego, fearing the eventual success of his cause, are now suggesting that too much freedom of religion can be a bad thing.

What these events of the last year suggest is that people are returning to the idea that a public manifestation of morality, secured through a little prudent legislation, can be a positive good. Those who have lost their pocketbooks, maidenheads, composure, or belief in the basic decency of man are like the Munchkins emerging from the bushes to examine that odd person from Kansas and the facts surrounding her mysterious appearance. They sense some momentous change is in the offing; they like what they sense, and they relish the day when they. too. might walk the streets with a feeling of security and a belief that God’s back in his Heaven and all's right with the world.

– Karl Keating

Left jabs

Some say San Diego has passed its darkest hour. The experiment with a republican form of government has been laid to rest. The Bill of Rights may play fine in Kansas, but a city that earns its bread pushing bombs and tanning butter needs a more solid foundation on which to grow and develop.

Bill Kolender, our Chief of Police, may have summed it up best in explaining why San Diego has a lower crime rate than San Francisco. “There’s a less permissive environment here,” he says. It appears Bill would really like to try and have all our citizens tucked in by ten and then carry out periodic bed checks throughout the night. Pleasant dreams.

But it’s not that San Diego is such a conservative place; there an more conservative cities (Durban, South Africa and Santiago, Chile are two that come to mind immediately). It’s just that the kind of town that could give us John D. Spreckels and C. Arnholt Smith, or make culture heroes out of Ray Kroc and the KGB Chicken is not going to take kindly to people who abuse their First Amendment rights by trying to practice them, especially if those people are dark-skinned, loose-wristed, poor, elderly, or naked.

A few examples of wins and losses over the past year: Los Angeles’s loss of the B-1 bomber was San Diego's gain. The construction of compact, disposable, pop-top cruise missile buzz-bombs down on Harbor Drive proves Guru Governor Jerry Brown right: small is beautiful, at least in the megadeath department.

Perennial young Republican candidate Pete Wilson proved he could out-Davis Ed Davis in the gubernatorial quick-draw by sending his New Centurions into Balboa Park and Ocean Beach to deal with pot-smoking sailors and hippies, a blatant play for the Sixties nostalgia vote. After a summer of protest, the sweeps were moved to downtown San Diego, a center of sexual and financial pornography.

Still, one person’s financial pornography is another person's downtown redevelopment. Ernie Hahn, who is rumored to have just filed papers for the adoption of Center City Development Corporation head Gerald Trimble as his son, is not too worried about the displacement of low-income senior citizens by the new Horton Center. As evidence, he notes a recent poignant incident: an elderly man by the name of Arnholt Smith, a legal pauper who lives in La Jolla, asked about rentals in the new Marina housing projects.

Many people argue that downtown redevelopment is unnecessary in order to attract new tourists. They point to the thousands of people coming in to visit San Diego every night from Spring Canyon, Dairy Mart Road and Colonia Libertad. “Manny the Cop” Lopez, head of the Border Crime Task Force, has been assigned to act as security for these southern tourists on their journey north. Playing cops and robbers on the border can be hard, he's discovered, especially when the robbers you run into turn out to be cops from the other side. No sweat, the mucho macho machine gunner would have us believe. The real danger is getting a bum contract out of Hollywood. To protect their movie and TV rights, the task force has formed a legal corporation called BARF (Border Alien Robbery Force). Watch for them in a theater near you.

Other recent developments include the emergence of the transvestite Klan. Grand Drag Queen David Duke, on a recent tour of San Diego TV studios, radio stations, and newspaper offices, hinted that satin sheets will be part of the new image, that they're tired of harsh cottons that irritate the skin. No more rashes for the racists. “I’ll tell you a secret,” Duke was overheard to say. “Underneath my robes I wear Arpedge or I wear nothing at all.”

Another recent development saw the Church News, a paper with some of the highest advertising rates in town, warning the voters of San Diego that homosexual nudists would soon take over the city council if they didn’t vote right (and the further right the better). The voters stayed home in droves, but the pro-life, pro-capital punishment, Keep-the-Canal-and-give-them-Carter, Laetrile six-pack crowd managed to bring in a new city council slightly to the right of the South Korean Senate. “I think it's just self-repression,” says a former member of the Nude Beaches Committee. “They’re scared to admit that underneath their clothing they're nudists, too.”

Another publication, the Christian Yellow Pages, emerged on the scene with an announced policy of accepting advertising from Christians only. “You say your name is Jesus and you’re a carpenter? I'm sorry, but we don’t accept Jewish advertisers.”

The CIA came out of the closet this year and admitted that it had funded weather modification programs at UCSD and human behavior modification programs at Mercy Hospital, but refused to comment on allegations that it had also practiced news modification programs at the Copley News Service.

Management at National Steel and Shipbuilding has been encouraging its workers to try out for the high diving competition at the 1980 Olympics, while state inspectors up at the San Onofre nuclear power station have discovered that the new reactor core was set in place backwards. Not to worry. SDG&E’s nuclear spokesman suggests that although it appears to be in backwards, they’ve actually placed it in a reverse position so that it faces away from earthquake fault lines. We should think of this as an added safety feature.

And while Sheriff John Duffy explains to a grand jury the physiological inferiority of women, ex-police chief and Atlas Hotel guard Ray Hoobler talks about running against him in the next election. Sort of like giving the voters a choice between Mace and a cattle prod.

But enough of this downbeat stuff-public employees who can’t strike, poor women who can’t get abortions, unemployed youth who can’t find work in the ghetto. San Diego will have had more than 250 days of sunshine this year. Who says we ain’t America’s finest city?

– David Helvarg


The movie output in the last year showed much the same sort of development as a head of hair—a little thinner, a little grayer, but basically the same old crop. Picking the crucial happenings out of this great tangled mass of movies is closely equivalent to predicting future happenings, and it doesn't take a soothsayer—it takes only an average Hollywood producer (average IQ of 107)—to do that. We haven’t yet fully felt the importance of Rocky, on the one hand, and Star Wars, on the other. By the same token, the overwhelming mass of movies in 1977—never mind the few trend-setters—can be traced back to some prominent movie or motif in years gone by. For example, to Jaws, (The Deep, The Car, Orca, Tentacles), to The Exorcist (Exorcist II: The Heretic, Audrey Rose, Suspiria. The Sentinel). to Cold War paranoia (Twilight's Last Gleaming, Black Sunday, The Cassandra Crossing, Telefon), Vietnam hangover (Heroes, Rolling Thunder), and post-Watergate conspiracy theory (Billy Jack Goes to Washington, Nasty Habits, The Domino Principle, and the TV special, Washington Behind Closed Doors). World War II, catching some of the flak that ought by rights to be directed at the Southeast Asia so-called conflict, made a small and unglorified comeback (Cross of Iron. The Eagle Has Landed. Mac Arthur, A Bridge Too Far, and Islands in the Stream), and Latin Lovers, long dead and buried, were disinterred and desecrated for no discernible motive (Casanova. Valentino). An unexpected development was the upsurge of animated features (Wizards, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Allegro Non Troppo, Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, and The Rescuers), a long expected and inexplicably postponed development, which finally came in force, was the feminist backlash to the traditional masculine action film (New York, New York, Three Women, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Julia, The Turning Point, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, In the Realm of the Senses, and The Other Side of Midnight). Women in films, though, were still outnumbered by automobiles, roughly three to one. Following are a few unassimilated fine points of the past movie year, culled from a spotty memory, twenty minutes of library research, and numerous wadded-up notes that were fished out of the wastepaper basket, smoothed out, and pressed flat between the hefty International Encyclopedia of Films and equally hefty World Encyclopedia of Films.

1.) The Second Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Citation for the year’s trashiest movie title is presented jointly to Billy Jack Goes to Washington and The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington. Dishonorable mentions are extended to Sorcerer for being the year’s most deceitful title (the word is never explained in the context of the movie, but. with sharp eyes, may be glimpsed once in a blinding rainstorm, stencilled on the door of a truck), and to the sequel craze in general for introducing Roman numerals, colons, dashes, and whatnots into titles (Exorcist II: The Heretic, Final Chapter — Walking Tall, and one which I steadfastly resist, shortening it to its last two words. The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training).

2.) The Second Annual Willa Cather Citation for the year’s classiest title is withheld this year. Oh, all right then, give it to Spirit of the Beehive or Annie Hall.

The most quotable quote came from Paramount Studio executive Barry Diller, regarding the incendiary negotiations to find a suitable-for-release version of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 325-minute, $8-million Marxist epic. 1900. Said Diller: “I don’t like the three-hour version, I don’t like the four-and-a-half-hour version, and I don’t like the five-hour version. Paramount will never release this film."

3.) A word to the wise from the man who gave you The Godfather, extracted from an inner-company memorandum which was indiscreetly published in Esquire magazine: “Please remember, my name is Francis Coppola. I am dropping the Ford and would appreciate it if I am no longer referred to as I have been in the past. This comes from a statement I once heard which I feel is true: ‘Never trust a man who has three names.’ "

4.) Whatever became of good old-fashioned Hollywood glamor? The best answer to this puzzler, among multiple choices, is Marisa Berenson, for her hedonistic performance in a TV commercial for Cutex nail polish (“Streaks are a disaster, I mean really a disaster”). Other acceptable answers are Catherine (“I don’t play games") Deneuve, for her continuing shamelessness in TV commercials for Chanel No. 5 perfume, and Jacqueline Bisset, for her swimwear fashions.

5.) Theater news:

a. The Fox and California theaters, two grand old downtown palaces dating back to the 1920s, ceased to operate as movie houses.

b. The Mann theater chain, which dropped its option on the Fox and California, opened the University Towne Centre six-plex, the largest number of screens under one roof in all of San Diego County, with Grand Opening ceremonies presided over by Miss Technicolor Hair of 1952, Rhonda Fleming.

c. As a heavily publicized experiment, several local theaters preceded their feature attractions with a thirty-second advertisement for Seiko watches, marketed nationwide by a New York firm named Screenvision. This provoked immediate and well-acted outrage from patrons who believe the big difference between television and movies is that in the latter you shell out three dollars to divorce yourself from all commercial considerations. Exactly simultaneous to this flap, Al Pacino could be seen doing another ad for Seiko watches as an integral part of his role in Bobby Deerfield. (At another point, Pacino poses dramatically in front of a towering Marlboro sign display. Such flaunting of brand names inside of movies – for another example, the Trans Am sportscar and the Coors beer in Burt Reynolds’ moonrunner movie, Smokey and the Bandit —is standard practice). For uncountable years, of course, although more quietly, movie theaters have run little plugs for local after-the-show restaurants, for radio stations, for car dealers, for the L.A. Times, etc., etc., as well as for such in-house amenities as the snack bar, discount ticket booklets, and the coming attractions. There’s also the occasional “entertainment’’ short subject to promote highway safety, water conservation, tourism, recreational equipment, and so forth. That’s all commerce, folks. So what's the sudden stink?

6.) Movies whose overdue appearance in San Diego is awaited with as much pessimism as impatience include Susan Sontag’s Promised Lands (I hold over my hope from last year), Barbara Kopple's Harlan County, U.S.A., Alain Resnais's Providence, Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky, Dario Argento’s Deep Red, and any of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s thirty-odd films, of which so far only one has played in local theaters.

7.) True Confessions Department, being an expose of my self-recriminations and self-flagellations for 1977:

a. Movies I could kick myself for failing to see: Peter Watkins’ Edvard Munch, Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, and Jonathan Demme’s Citizens Band (since retitled Handle With Care and screened at the New York Film Festival).

b. Movies I fear I may have somewhat slighted: Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God. John Sturges’ The Eagle Has Landed, Charles Jarrott’s The Littlest Horse Thieves, Dick Richards’ March or Die, and John Flynn’s Rolling Thunder.

c. Topics which I intended to take up in an effort to enter into the swing of things, but which I abandoned in fatigue, laziness, or meal-time hunger: (i) an inquiry into the significance of the color yellow in Robert Altman’s oeuvre; (ii) a study of Brechtian distancing in the use of language in Star Wars; (iii) an analysis of the reasons for, and results of, Eric Rohmer’s repositioning of the little anecdote about Thinka the swan in his adaptation of The Marquise of O, which otherwise follows the Heinrich von Kleist book line by line.

8.) A special citation for mental cruelty goes to the parties responsible for rekindling the domestic bickering over auteur theory. First in American Film magazine, it was Gore Vidal with his snippy, self-aggrandizing, genocidal attack on the entire species of movie directors (“Movies are stories; only writers can tell stories. So the wrong people are making the movies”), followed by Andrew Sarris, in the same magazine, with his patient professorial rebuttal (“Let me state at this point, albeit belatedly, that auteurism and Sarrisism are not identical. Both. I hope, have been evolving over the past quarter century on a widening front of scholarly activity”). Then, in the L.A. Times “Calendar” section, it was David Rintels with his foolishly jocular self-defense, written in his capacity as president of the Writers Guild West (“I think it would be wonderful if they stopped calling directors auteurs. By rights it ought to happen. In Hollywood, where the good guys always win and justice inevitably triumphs, maybe it will”). And because Rintels ever so lightly touched on the inflated reputation of Frank Capra, the eighty-year-old, near-senile director felt compelled to respond, lest anybody write any changes in his obituary notices (“Regardless of where the original material came from, or what writers worked on my scripts, all of my films—good, bad, or stinko—were Capra films, stamped with my own kind of humor, my own philosophies and ideals. They expressed dreams, hopes, and angsts that came out of my guts").

9.) This year’s Pauline Kael Prize for the hyperbole of the year goes to Andrew Sarris for the following: “Robert Altman’s dream film (Three Women) is such a stimulating achievement in cinematic art it makes one rethink the whole aesthetic of motion pictures.” Runner-up is Andrew Sarris for this: “There is one extraordinary scene when Keaton snatches her lover’s condom in delirious disbelief and blows it up into a balloon with the gusto of Steve Martin. This one sensational sequence alone is enough to make Looking for Mr. Goodbar one of the landmarks of the American cinema.”

10.) Finally, the Gene Shalit Anybody-Can-Be-a-Film-Reviewer Award is bestowed on Senator George S. McGovern (“Twilight’s Last Gleaming could be the most important film ever made, and every American should see it.”).

– Duncan Shepherd

Short takes, cheap shots, and one-liners

At Least Some People Think San Diego Is a Great Place to Set Up Business:

As police continued to ponder clues to the baffling 1975 gangland-style murder of businesswoman Tamara Rand, reputed mobster Frank “The Bomp” Bompensiero was shot to death while on his nightly stroll through Pacific Beach. Still, county supervisors, who logged numerous reports documenting the activity of local organized crime figures, decided to lease a Kearny Mesa storage facility owned by Morris Shenker, a St. Louis attorney suspected of having ties to the mob. Meanwhile, La Costa, the North County resort which caters to a sometimes controversial clientele, continues to flourish.

What I Meant to Say Was:

Ernest Hahn, developer of Fashion Valley, University Towne Centre, and tomorrow’s Horton Plaza Mall, standing at the corner of Fifth and Market streets downtown, not far from the historical IOOF building which now houses the San Diego Ballet and the Save Our Heritage Organization, commented that the entire area ought to be torn down and “redeveloped.”

In the Name of Beauty:

The Port District, as part of their “beautification” project along the harbor at Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway, cut down more than forty palm trees, most of them fifty years old. Palm trees, the port claims, just aren’t compatible with San Diego’s environment.

Even Harris and Gallup Had to Start Somewhere:

The San Diego Union Poll predicted Proposition D (antinudity) would be defeated: it won. The poll also predicted victories for council candidates Schulze, Johnson, Lowrey, and Morrow; only Lowrey won.

Getting There Is Half the Cost:

San Diego Transit increased its fares to thirty-five cents; express buses went to fifty cents.

Wearing Clean Socks Is the Other Half:

Many area laundromats, in the still of the night, upped their prices to fifty cents; free dryers became a thing of the past.

A Man’s Home Is His Castle, Literally:

The cost of a house, new or old, soared far beyond the means of most. In some cases, prices climbed more than $1,000 per day for condominiums and tract homes still under construction.

A Matter of Life and Breath and Plenty of Cash:

The first seventy-five-cent-a-pack cigarette machine made its appearance in Mission Valley.

Thank the Lord for Small Favors:

A call from a pay phone still costs ten cents (it’s up to twenty-five in some areas), a newspaper still goes for fifteen, and a postage stamp (a full year without an increase) for thirteen.

Covering the Bases:

Locked in a spat with Padre owner Ray Kroc over a loan the ball club owed the city. Councilman Jess Haro said he would gladly return his free passes because the team played so poorly. Haro, whose statement prompted a deluge of phone calls from rabid Padre supporters, later attempted to make peace with sports fans by calling on the city to put up money for a post-season college football bowl game.

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways:

In testimony before a Superior Court jury, Terry DePew revealed that she had tried nine different methods of killing David Hargis, including placing tarantula venom in his blackberry pie, mixing LSD into a batch of French toast, placing a .38 caliber bullet in the carburetor of his pickup truck, and throwing an electric cord into the shower while Hargis was bathing. After her repeated failures, DePew succeeded in bludgeoning the Marine drill sergeant with a six and one-half ounce lead weight.

Interminable Agony, Part Five:

Yet another KGB Homegrown album, and promises of more to come.

Listen, Anything with Two-Minute Solos on Sax, Synthesizer, or Electric Piano Sounds Jazzy to Me:

KPRI's unlamented late-night jazz show, which, with truly perverse programming acumen, featured artists as varied as Chick Corea, Yes, Tangerine Dream, Jimi Hendrix, George Benson, John Klemmer, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and the Allman Brothers under the same “jazz” roof.

Most Foreboding Phenomenon of 1977:

Reports that Orange County denizens were buying homes in northern San Diego County (Carlsbad and Oceanside) to commute to jobs in Mission Viejo.

Sorry, Auditions for the Gong Show Are Held in Hollywood:

After a year-long debate, county supervisors finally decided against spending $40,000 in taxpayers’ money to televise highlights of their weekly meetings. Opposition to the plan was led by Lee Taylor, who called the shows a “publicity thing” for freshman Roger Hedgecock.

Can’t Get Enough:

Linda Lovelace’s remarkable skills, so graphically documented in Deep Throat, kept crowds coming to the Pussycat Cabaret on Third and F streets for 826 days before theater owner Vince Miranda changed programs.

With My New Water Massage Unit I Find That I Can Return to the Bliss I Knew Before the Moment of Conception:

Psychic “rebirthing” sessions in a hot tub (at $35 a shot) began to trickle down to San Diego from San Francisco, where Leonard Orr of the FST movement discovered the joys of getting back in touch with the womb one day while “hanging around in his bathtub.” Those born prematurely are advised not to sign up.

When You Really Want to Know (How to Blow $250.000):

A massive promotional campaign, including television spots, billboards, and a redesigned front page, increased the Evening Tribune's circulation by less than 3,000. Let’s see, if they had stopped people on the street and offered them ten dollars each to take the paper...

Tomorrow, the World:

Uninspired by such mundane local issues as unemployment, inflation, and an overcrowded jail, Supervisor Roger Hedgecock called for a county-wide referendum on the virtues of the Panama Canal treaties.

And You Always Thought They Were Out Bowling:

In a series of weekend arrests aimed at curbing prostitution, vice squad officers hauled in carloads of downtown streetwalkers, many of whom, upon being stripped to bare essentials, turned out to be men.

After All, San Diego Is a Service Town:

California First Bank, the innovative “people’s” bank, ended their immensely popular experiment with Saturday banking when the weekend crowds grew too large. Too much money was being withdrawn. not enough deposited. California First’s explanation to customers: they were shutting down on Saturday “to better serve you during the week.”

The Year’s Most Ambitious Effort at Euphemism:

In a long-awaited report to the city council. City Manager Hugh McKinley admitted that police had engaged in “some excesses” in their handling of anti-war demonstrators, but excused their zealousness by noting that an “officer who is spat upon, who is accused of Oedipus activity of a porcine nature by adults and their preteen offspring, is likely to respond with some enthusiasm reflecting his competitive spirit.”

Full Refunds Guaranteed If You Get Shot Down in the Middle of the Night by a Frightened Iowa Farmer:

For merely S250, advanced Transcendental Meditation teachers claim they can teach anyone to levitate, walk through walls, become invisible, and cause objects to materialize. One graduate of the sessions claims he often takes night flights around the county.

Talk Is Cheap, But the Medium Is the Message:

In an instructive example of the flexibility of the modern legal system, massage parlors along lower Broadway and lower Fourth and Fifth streets changed their signs to read “Rap Parlor.” Hostesses say they will rap about anything. But should words fail them, the latest development in the business should fill in those awkward silences: a number of the parlors have taken to installing color TVs in each cubbyhole.

Next Up, an Exclusive Consumer Report on Buying Shoelaces, Followed by InstaCam Coverage of My Sister’s Baby Saying “Mama” for the First Time:

Channel 8’s ninety-minute news show has proven that, in San Diego, no news is still news.

In the Eye of the Beholder:

When the Centre City Development Corporation’s board of directors was presented with a sample of the group's new letterhead (a series of small, interlocking boxes supposedly symbolizing the growth of San Diego’s downtown area), CCDC board member Ken Rearwin looked at the sketch and said, “Hmmm. It looks to me like the city’s shrinking.”

Higher Consciousness Through Donuts:

Officials of the Winchell’s Donut chain® bent on opening a franchise in Ocean Beach, offered to add a whole wheat variety to their menu in an effort to placate nutrition-minded members of the Ocean Beach Planning Board.

As If Organic Donuts Weren’t Enough:

Not to be outdone by Yogurt King, Yogurt Palace, Yogurt Au Naturale, the Yogurt Shop, Yogurt Cove, Yogurt Affair, or Yogurt-a-Day, Fedmart included in its new Sports Arena expansion a frozen yogurt bar just behind the checkout stands. Next year, adjacent to the yogurt counter, there will appear a hair parlor staffed by Adelle, formerly of Ocean Beach, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, New York, and Laguna Beach, and trained by Rudolpho (formerly of Pacific Beach, by way of Hollywood).

Now They Tell Me! I Threw My Invitation Away Because I Thought It Was Just Another Bring-Your-Own-Bottle:

At Helen Copley’s Foxhill Estate there was a fundraising party for the San Diego Symphony. Among the hired help were Pete Wilson as a butler, his wife as a maid. Burl Stiff as a wine steward. Helen Copley as a waitress, and Gerald Warren as a car-door opener. My, my. What some people will do for underwriting purposes.

What Some People Won’t Do for Underwriting Purposes:

If Neil Morgan is correct, many of the same philanthropists who let Peteuh take their hats and coats stormed out in outrage at a similar benefit for the La Jolla Museum, totally disgusted with Eleanor Antin’s “Marxist” post-conceptual presentation of Florence Nightingale.

Christmas Gift Ideas:

Permanent lip-locks for the following if they ever again violate these rules: Alan Alda, Pete Hamel, Mario Thomas, Ingmar Bergman, and Joyce Brothers for speaking on feminism. Erica Jong, Helen Gurley Brown, Al Goldstein, Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, and Joyce Brothers for speaking on sexual ethics. Anita Bryant, Ed Davis, Elton John, Howard Smith, Mike Royko, and Joyce Brothers for speaking on the joys and sorrows of homosexuality. Jesse Jackson, James Kilpatrick. Shana Alexander, Nat Hentoff. and Joyce Brothers for speaking about corporal punishment. Geraldo Rivera, Billy Carter, Barbara Walters, Tom Wolfe, Tom Snyder, Art Buchwald, and Joyce Brothers for speaking about anything.

I Kid You Not:

After enduring so much nonsense for twelve months, it’s nice to know that there are still some people to depend on. Rush into a record store and buy the latest releases by Ornette Coleman. Randy Newman, Archie Shepp, Chico Hamilton, Frankie Miller, Graham Parker, Garland Jeffreys, Leroy Jenkins, James Taylor, Bryan Ferry, and Mel Lewis. And thank God that this wretched year is finally over.

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